I am suffering from lock down burn out. Funnily enough realising this is the reason behind my recent extreme low mood and my inability to focus, concentrate or produce good work has made me feel happier. If I have a diagnosis I can find a cure. If I identify the problem I can be fixed.
I have decided when I return to work after the bank holiday I will be looking to take some time off as annual leave. Before I felt like it was a waste of annual leave. Taking time off when I could neither go anywhere nor do anything. But to be honest, I don’t think we are going to come out of this any time soon. I am beginning to think we could be looking at the things I took for granted last year like an office Christmas party not happening this year. I think taking a few days annual leave now to drink tea, read, write and watch Netflix undisturbed will be good.
Please don’t take this to mean I am trying to panic people, or I have inside knowledge. I am not trying to panic people, I do not have insider knowledge. I am speculating, and I choose to speculate on a worst case scenario basis as it makes me feel better protected in case the worst does happen. That is how I work. But it might not be what is best for you, in which case feel free to disregard my choices.
I am over budget on the food budget by nearly 33%. The food budget is £300 a month, it currently stands at £388. From next month onwards my food budget will be £400. There is a lack of deals in the supermarkets in the UK as they are getting rid of multibuy offers to prevent food waste and also to make sure there is enough stock for everyone. There is a lack of basic, entry level, economy buys in the stores. Tesco Every Day, Morrison’s Savers, Sainsbury’s Basics, you know these names as what they call their economy ranges. They are not available in stores at the frequency they once were.
My energy bill went up. We are in a deficit of about £335 so have to look to pay that back during the time of our contract. The flat mate and I might be moving out of this property in September. It depends what the landscape for moving houses is like then. Logically as a couple that split up we can’t live together any longer than we have to. But it might not be possible to move out in September when our tenancy agreement is up for renewal, so we may be stuck for another year. Or the landlord could kick us out as soon as normal service is resumed. I don’t know, so I must be prepared for what could happen.
Again, I like to prepare for the worst.
I am going to dip into my savings to make sure I pay off the debt of the writing masterclass as soon as I get paid this month. I have a huge aversion to debt, I mean, I kind of have to given that this is a blog about my debt free journey. I can hardly preach but not practice. This would leave me vulnerable to a potential emergency, which isn’t unlikely given that we are in a risky time and things we never thought would happen are happening left right and centre.
If I can, as an aside, recommend a book, it would be ‘The Black Swan’ by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. I definitely recommend having a look at it. I predict this book will be rereleased in a few years’ time to include notes on the pandemic.
I feel good currently. I need to reduce my drinking. I tracked what was a typical lock down week for me of at least one can of beer most days, a bottle of prosecco on a Saturday, and wine on a Sunday, and it came to 21 units. A woman’s weekly guideline is 14 units. I was over by 50%, and worryingly I didn’t see this as bad.
So my rule is Monday to Thursday I won’t drink, and then I will only drink at the weekend. I include Friday evening as a weekend day. And this isn’t an excuse to drink 14 units across 3 days. I can’t do that. I will be good.
There’s no way to deny it. Financially I am benefitting from lock down by not spending money on going out, work canteen lunches, and random crap. I am having to analyse every single purchase, and I am really making the most of every last drop of product.
This week I had 3 tube lip balms down to their stubs. I used a skewer to pull out the remainder of each of the three tubes, and I put it in an empty Vaseline tin, mixed. This will give me an extended lip balm product. I did this because in the old days I would just go to Boots or Superdrug on my way home from work and buy some lip balms. But I can’t do that now. I can’t just leave the house for one purchase. I am really trying to leave the house as infrequently as possible.
Another reason why food shopping is costing more is I tend to just go to the one store. I used to shop around. I used to go to multiple stores on a weekly shopping excursion. I don’t want to do that anymore. It is too difficult.
Getting out of debt is just one aspect of my financial journey. I will also be looking to get my credit rating as high as it can be. I am looking to save to buy my own property. My goal for buying property is not as an asset. It is simply so I can have a pet freely and without restraint. I want to have a fully funded emergency fund. £1000 isn’t enough. 3 months expenses isn’t enough. 6 months isn’t enough. I want to have an emergency fund that has my annual salary in it. After that I can have fun spending freely.
So Flo’s Debt Free Diary isn’t going to end in 96 days’ time. It will continue. I will still be on my financial journey. I still have much to learn and much to teach and I will do what I can.